United's Fletcher sidelined by bowel disease

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will take an extended break from the sport for health reasons, the English Premier League club announced Tuesday.

Fletcher, 27, required several breaks from the game over the past year to cope with the illness, which United stated Tuesday is ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.

"Whilst he was able to maintain remission of symptoms for a considerable period this has proved more difficult recently and Darren's continued desire to play and his loyalty to both his club and country has probably compromised the chances of optimizing his own health and fitness," United posted on its website.

The Scotland captain played 10 times for United this season and also made five appearances for his national team but needs rest to recover from the illness, which has no known cure.

"He has therefore accepted medical advice to take an extended break from the demands of training and playing in order to afford the best chance possible of achieving full remission once again," United said on its website.